Formula One: Hamilton wins German Grand Prix; Vettel only fourth

Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix of Germany on Sunday at the Nurburgring.

By: Adam Cooper on 7/24/2011

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Lewis Hamilton on Sunday scored a brilliant victory for McLaren in the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring on a day when Red Bull Racing's dominance was finally challenged. In fact, the battle for victory came down a fight between Hamilton and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Red Bull's Mark Webber started from pole position, with Hamilton alongside and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel in an unusually low third place at his home race. Ferrari again showed good form, with Alonso fourth and Felipe Massa fifth.

The race was dry after heavy rain on Sunday morning, though a few drops of water fell as the cars sat on the grid before the start. The biggest problem was the low track temperature, which put a premium on getting the tires to work effectively, especially at the start and after pit stops.

Webber appeared to bog down at the start, and Hamilton surged into the lead. Behind him, Alonso made an aggressive move on Vettel and managed to take third place. On the second lap, however, Alonso ran wide, allowing Vettel back into third place.

The Spaniard regained the spot with another great move into turn one at the start of lap eight. Vettel's challenge for the podium then faded when he had a spin, and he could never quite find the speed he needed to get back on terms with those ahead.

Meanwhile at the front, Hamilton ran ahead of Webber, the Aussie pushing hard but unable to find a way past. He nearly made it by at the start of lap 13, and when it didn't quite happen he became the first of the leaders to pit, coming in on lap 14. Hamilton stayed out for an extra three laps on his old tires and, when he came in, Webber jumped ahead.

Alonso joined them to make it a fabulous three-car battle, and it was clear that everything would depend on how the rest of the stops played out. Webber was the first to come in for a third set of options, stopping on lap 30. Hamilton went one lap longer and just managed to get out ahead. Alonso did one further lap and briefly emerged in the lead, only for Hamilton, on warmer tires, to get back past. However, Alonso had demoted Webber to third, and thereafter he became Hamilton's main challenger.

The key to the race was the compulsory change to the medium-compound tire, which was significantly slower. Hamilton pitted first, and his new mediums proved to be more competitive than Alonso's old options, although it was close. Hamilton thus stayed ahead when the Ferrari driver pitted.

Webber dropped away from the two leaders in third stint, taking a gamble by staying out longer on his prime rubber. Massa and Vettel waited until the last possible opportunity--the start of the last lap--before pitting, and when the Ferrari crew had a glitch, Vettel jumped ahead to claim fourth and useful points for his championship campaign. It was the first time all year he finished worse than second.

Adrian Sutil did a great job to take sixth for Force India, beating the Mercedes GP pair of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. The final points went to Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov. Jenson Button was recovering well from a bad start when he retired with a hydraulic problem.


1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1 hour, 37 minutes, 30.334 seconds

2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, +3.980s

3. Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing-Renault, +9.788

4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing-Renault, +47.921

5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, +52.252

6. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, +1:26.208

7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, +1 lap

8. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP, +1 lap

9. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber-Ferrari, +1 lap

10. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, +1 lap

11. Sergio Pérez , Sauber-Ferrari, +1 lap

12. Jaime Alguersuari, Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari, +1 lap

13. Paul di Resta, Force India-Mercedes, +1 lap

14. Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Cosworth, +1 lap

15. Sébastien Buemi, Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari, +1 lap

16. Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus-Renault, +2 laps

17. Timo Glock, Virgin-Cosworth, +3 laps

18. Jérôme d'Ambrosio, Virgin-Cosworth, +3 laps

19. Daniel Ricciardo, HRT-Cosworth, +3 laps

20. Karun Chandhok, Lotus-Renault, +4 laps

Not Classified:

--Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT-Cosworth, 44 laps (electrical)

--Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes, 42 (hydraulics)

--Rubens Barrichello, Williams-Cosworth, 23 (oil leak)

--Nick Heidfeld, Renault, 10 (crash)

Drivers' Championship Standings After 10 of 19 Races

1. Vettel, 216

2. Webber, 139

3. Hamilton, 134

4. Alonso, 130

5. Button, 109

6. Massa, 62

7. Rosberg, 46

8. Heidfeld, 34

9. Schumacher, 32

10. Petrov, 32

Constructors' Championship Standings

1. Red Bull Racing-Renault, 355

2. McLaren-Mercedes, 243

3. Ferrari, 192

4. Mercedes GP, 78

5. Renault, 66

6. Sauber-Ferrari, 35

7. Force India-Mercedes, 20

8. Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 17

9. Williams-Cosworth, 4

Next: Hungary, July 31 (7:30 a.m. Eastern, Speed)


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